Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Robinson, Jackie (1972–1919)

Born in Georgia, Robinson played football, basketball, track, and baseball throughout his childhood and won his region’s baseball MVP award in 1938. He studied at UCLA, becoming the first student to win letters in four sports. He served in the US Army until 1944 when he was court-martialed for refusing to give up his seat on a segregated bus and honorably discharged. He started playing in the Negro Leagues of baseball until the Brooklyn Dodgers hired him to play, making him the first African American player in Major League baseball. He faced harassment and threats, but became a national hero as Rookie of the Year and the National League’s MVP in 1949.